SEO, so what?



Why does this work matter and what happens if you don’t do it?

SEO means: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), if you pause to think for a second it very quickly sinks in that SEO is a very sensible thing to do. Why wouldn’t you want your site to appear at the top of a search engine’s list of returned sites?

So, before we get into how SEO works it is going to be helpful to know how a search engine finds results. Search engines are answer machines: ask a question and it searches its index to find the most relevant answers. The search engine has compiled this index using a “web crawler”, a program that visits each page on the web and all of its links, which stores a copy of the page and its URL in the search engine’s index. If you can find the page listed on a search engine then a crawler has visited it. Now, the part where SEO comes in: a search engine uses an algorithm to rank results in order of relevance to your search. These algorithms look at different elements to decide which sites come at the top of the returned list. SEO ensures that your site contains all the elements that a search engine algorithm is looking for and gets ranked highly. For example:

Title Tags (or Title Elements): are the highlighted titles that a search engine result page (SERP) displays (on Google they are highlighted blue). These tags tell Google, other search engine the main description of your site or document. They are very important and optimizing them is often one of the first SEO tasks.
Meta Descriptions: appearing under the highlighted Title Tag on a SERP. Although Google’s algorithms do not take Meta descriptions into account, since 2009, to determine a sites relevance they are essential to encourage users to click on your link, rather than a competitors.
H1 Tags: stands for Heading One and is the first thing a search engine like Google will look at to establish the relevance of your site after the title tag. With an H1 tag you are essentially telling search engines that this text, or heading is the most crucial.
Image Alt Tags: labels for any images on your site or document and Google, and others, use Image Alt tags to determine what the image is but also if the surrounding information is relevant an useful. Clear tags are very important for SEO.
Internal Linking: when a Google crawler finds your site it will also have a look at any links to see their relevance. If the link structure is unclear then it is possible the crawler may not even know the links exist. Many experts believe internal linking has a strong impact on Google’s algorithm and a clear pyramid shaped internal linking structure is key.

By using SEO your site will immediately have gained an advantage over any non-optimised sites on the web; people are inherently lazy and are most likely to click on one of the top five results, rather than any others. More people than ever are using search engines and SEO is becoming more and more common and is essential if you want to generate traffic on your site. Without SEO you run the risk of your site being buried deep in the search engine’s index and rarely read.

The Digital Marketing Challenge

The challenge for marketers in the digital age is to better measure the ROI of online marketing activities through the use of smart analytics. The problem is digital analytics and the sort of data you get from Google about traffic can get confusing.

Web and digital analytics are a world apart. One is useful for ascertaining website performance, the other provides data used to judge the success of marketing campaigns – think of it this way, web analytics are like a venue and digital analytics are the expos.

The venue can tell you who came on which day and how long they stayed but that’s about it, they can’t give insight on conversions and place in the sales process of leads. The stalls at the expos are your marketing campaigns, they can tell you how many people came by, used a voucher or discount code, how much they spent and the demographic profile of the average buyer. And it is this knowledge that you get with digital marketing analytics that tells marketers what is giving them their best ROI.

Digital Marketing and Web Analytics – the difference

It’s important to have a comprehensive view of the performance of marketing activities whatever the budget and attempting to get that information from the venue owners (web analytics) is a pointless waste of time and money. How would they know? They just own the building.

Marketers need to assess and compare the performance of social media and email campaigns and website data isn’t going to offer the complexity of detail required. Web analytics alone aren’t enough to better procure leads and convert them into customers.

Better quality data for your sales team

Digital marketing analytics provides integration across different marketing channels so marketers can better understand the customer journey and tailor future campaigns to their behaviours by tracking the journey from start to finish. It’s like having the data from every stall at the expo so you know what works, what doesn’t and what visitors want and how they got there.

This is a much more efficient and powerful way of tracking leads as it is based on the behaviours of individuals not web pages. And it is this sort of intelligent information that marketers can turn into something actionable and better qualify leads.

The data collected through digital marketing can help shape and inform future campaigns. It can also help optimise the marketing budget by better determining the relationship between campaign lead generation and conversion rate through CRM integrated analytics.

Integrated analytics and CRM

CRMs come in all forms with myriad capabilities and varying price points – some are free, others cost thousands of dollars – but price isn’t always an indicator of suitability or performance. Zoho, Batchbook, Hubspot, SugarCRM and MailChimp are in the free to low cost basket and millions of small businesses rely with resounding success. At the high-end there market leader Salesforce, Oracle and Microsoft, often favoured by enterprise. It’s best to speak to a digital marketing specialist about integrating digital marketing analytics to give a comprehensive view of marketing performance.

By being able to compare the performance of each prong of activity marketers can better plan their campaigns and have access to real-time data on their progress of hitting their targets. If a certain campaign isn’t yielding the expected results then digital analytics will give them an early warning allowing marketers to adjust their strategy and funnel resources into better performing channels.

If you’re running the expo you’d be delighted to have detailed data on how to increase sales for your stall holders, better utilise the space taken up by failing stalls and attract more visitors by having more of the stuff they like. That’s digital marketing analytics in a nutshell.

The more data you can collect and decipher the smarter your marketing will become and the easier it will be to connect the dots resulting in huge cost savings, increased sales or often both.